Facility opened Feb. 9 in Bee Ridge Park; after it closes on Feb. 18, applications still may be submitted by mail
Businesses and residents affected by the severe storms and tornado in Sarasota County Jan. 15-17 can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the agency’s administrator, Maria Contreras-Sweet, announced on Feb. 5.
Contreras-Sweet made the loans available in response to a Feb. 2 letter from Gov. Rick Scott, in which he requested a disaster declaration by the SBA. That declaration covers Sarasota County, as well as Charlotte, DeSoto and Manatee counties, a news release says.
“Businesses and nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets,” said SBA’s South Florida District Director Francisco Marrero in the release.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and most private nonprofit organizations of all sizes, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster, the release explains. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
The Disaster Loan Outreach Center opened on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at Bee Ridge Park, located at 4430 S. Lockwood Ridge Road in Sarasota.
The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays; and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13. It will be closed on Sunday, Feb. 14, and Monday, Feb. 15 (Presidents’ Day).
It will close on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m., the release adds.
“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta, in the release.
SBA’s customer service representatives will be available at the Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about the program and help individuals complete their applications, the release continues.
Interest rates are as low as 4 percent for businesses, 2.625 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.813 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years, the release points out. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition, the release adds.
An applicant may be eligible for an increase in the loan amount up to 20 percent of the value of his or her physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes, the release notes. Some people or businesses add improvements — such as safe rooms or storm shelters — to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster, the release says.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired), or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, loan applications can be downloaded at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be returned to the center or mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is April 5, 2016, the release adds. The deadline to return economic injury applications is Nov. 7, 2016.
For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 861-5000 or visit www.scgov.net.